Health & Wellness

A Better Mental Health At The Workplace For Sure

Few Important Points

  • Employment that meets certain standards and provides fair conditions is beneficial for one’s mental well-being.
  • Adverse working conditions, such as discrimination, inequality, heavy workloads, limited job control, and job insecurity, might jeopardise mental well-being.
  • In 2019, an estimated 15% of people of working age were found to have a mental condition.
  • Depression and anxiety cause the world to lose over 12 billion working days annually, costing US$1 trillion in lost productivity.
  • We can take proactive measures to mitigate mental health hazards in the workplace, safeguard and enhance mental well-being at work, and assist employees with mental health disorders.

Engaging in employment can serve as a safeguard for maintaining good mental health.

Approximately 60% of the global population is employed. Every employee has the right to a secure and conducive working environment. Decent work promotes positive mental health by offering:

  • A source of income;
  • Self-assurance, determination, and fulfilment;
  • This is an occasion for fostering constructive relationships and promoting inclusivity within a community.
  • A platform that facilitates organised and systematic procedures, along with various additional advantages.

Decent employment can aid in the recovery and integration of individuals with mental health disorders, enhancing their confidence and social functioning.

Ensuring safe and healthy working conditions is not only a basic entitlement, but it is also more likely to reduce workplace tension and conflicts, as well as enhance employee retention, work performance, and productivity. On the other hand, if there are inadequate systems and assistance in place at work, particularly for individuals with mental health disorders, it can impact their capacity to get satisfaction from their work and perform their job effectively. This can compromise their attendance at work and potentially prevent them from securing employment in the first place.

Workplace hazards that can negatively impact mental well-being.

In the workplace, mental health hazards, also known as psychosocial risks, might be associated with occupational tasks or work hours, particular aspects of the work environment, or chances for professional growth, among other factors.

Potential hazards to mental well-being in the workplace encompass:

  • Insufficient utilisation of skills or lacking the necessary skills for a job
  • Overwhelming workloads or fast work speed; insufficient staffing;
  • Extended, solitary, or rigid working hours;
  • Insufficient authority in determining job design or workload;
  • Hazardous or substandard physical working conditions.
  • An organisational culture that fosters bad behaviours;
  • Colleagues provide minimal assistance, and monitoring is authoritarian in nature.
  • Aggression, intimidation, or mistreatment
  • Prejudice and marginalisation:
  • Ambiguous employment position;
  • Excessive or insufficient promotion;
  • Factors that contribute to job insecurity include insufficient compensation and a lack of investment in professional growth.
  • Clashing home and work obligations.

Over 50% of the worldwide labour force is employed in the informal economy, which lacks legal safeguards for health and safety. These people frequently work in hazardous working conditions, endure extended work hours, lack access to social or financial safeguards, and encounter prejudice, all of which might compromise their mental well-being.

Psychosocial risks are present in all sectors, although certain workers are more susceptible to them based on their job tasks, work environment, and working conditions. Professionals in health, humanitarian aid, or emergency response frequently face jobs that entail a heightened likelihood of encountering harmful incidents, which can have detrimental effects on their mental well-being.

Economic recessions or humanitarian and public health situations give rise to potential dangers such as unemployment, financial insecurity, limited work prospects, or higher rates of joblessness.

Work can serve as an environment that exacerbates broader problems that have a detrimental impact on mental well-being, such as prejudice and inequity rooted in characteristics such as colour, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, social background, immigration status, religion, or age.

Individuals with profound mental health disorders are at a higher risk of being marginalised from the workforce, and if they do secure employment, they are more prone to encountering disparities in the workplace. Unemployment also presents a potential threat to mental well-being. Risk factors for suicide attempts include unemployment, job insecurity, financial instability, and recent job losses.

Initiatives for promoting mental wellness in the workplace.

The improvement of mental health in the workplace can be facilitated by the government, employers, worker and employer representative organisations, and other relevant stakeholders. These entities can take action to address this issue.

  • Minimise work-related mental health issues by mitigating the hazards that can negatively impact mental well-being in the workplace.
  • Ensure the safeguarding and advancement of mental well-being in the workplace;
  • Assist individuals with mental health issues to actively engage and succeed in their work.
  • Establish a conducive atmosphere to facilitate change.

Efforts to tackle mental health issues in the workplace should engage workers, their representatives, and individuals who have personal experience with mental health concerns.

Mitigate occupational mental health disorders.

Preventing mental health disorders in the workplace involves effectively addressing and controlling psychosocial factors. The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises companies to develop organisational initiatives that specifically address working conditions and settings. Organisational interventions refer to the process of evaluating and subsequently reducing, altering, or eliminating potential mental health hazards in the workplace. Organisational interventions encompass actions such as offering adaptable work schedules and establishing protocols to address workplace violence and harassment.

Ensure the safeguarding and advancement of mental well-being in the workplace.

Enhancing the ability to identify and address mental health issues in the workplace, especially for individuals in leadership roles like managers, is crucial for safeguarding and advancing mental well-being at work.

In order to safeguard mental well-being, the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests the following measures:

  • Manager training for mental health equips managers with the ability to identify and address emotional discomfort in their subordinates. It enhances their interpersonal skills, such as effective communication and attentive listening. Additionally, it promotes a deeper comprehension of how job-related pressures impact mental well-being and how to effectively manage them.
  • Providing training to workers in mental health literacy and awareness with the aim of enhancing their understanding of mental health and diminishing negative attitudes towards mental health issues in the workplace.
  • Interventions aimed at equipping individuals with the necessary abilities to effectively cope with stress and alleviate symptoms of mental health issues, encompassing psychosocial interventions and chances for physical activity centred around leisure,.

Encourage the inclusion and success of individuals with mental health disorders in the workplace.

People with mental health disorders have the right to participate fully and fairly in the workforce. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a global treaty that aims to advance the rights of individuals with disabilities, especially those with psychosocial disabilities, particularly in the workplace. The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests three strategies to assist individuals with mental health disorders in acquiring, maintaining, and engaging in employment:

  • Reasonable accommodations in the workplace modify the working environment to suit the abilities, requirements, and preferences of an employee with a mental health problem. Possible accommodations may encompass granting employees personalised schedules, additional time to finish assignments, adjusted responsibilities to alleviate stress, leave for medical appointments, or recurring meetings with supportive managers.
  • Return-to-work programmes integrate job-focused interventions (such as reasonable adjustments or gradual reintegration into work) with continuous clinical treatment to assist employees in effectively resuming work following a period of leave due to mental health issues while simultaneously alleviating mental health symptoms.
  • Supported employment programmes aim to assist individuals with severe mental health disorders in obtaining and sustaining paid employment by offering ongoing mental health and vocational support.

Establish a conducive atmosphere to facilitate and encourage transformation.

Both governments and employers, in collaboration with important stakeholders, can enhance mental health in the workplace by establishing a conducive atmosphere for transformation. Practically speaking, this entails enhancing:

  • Exemplifying leadership and dedication to mental health in the workplace, such as by including mental health in pertinent policies,.
  • Allocate enough financial resources and assets, such as by creating specific budgets for initiatives aimed at enhancing mental well-being in the workplace and providing mental health and employment services to smaller businesses with limited resources.
  • Ensuring the ability to engage in employment by harmonising labour laws with global human rights agreements and enforcing workplace practices that prohibit discrimination.
  • The incorporation of mental health into other industries, such as by integrating mental health into current workplace safety and health systems.
  • Worker participation in decision-making, such as engaging in meaningful and timely consultations with workers, their representatives, and individuals who have personal experience with mental health disorders,.
  • Ensure that the most recent evidence, including that on psychosocial hazards and the efficacy of therapies, forms the foundation of all guidance and action regarding mental health at work.
  • Ensuring adherence to rules, regulations, and recommendations, such as by incorporating mental health within the mandates of national labour inspectorates and other methods for ensuring compliance,.

The response from the World Health Organisation (WHO)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is dedicated to enhancing mental health in the workplace. The WHO worldwide strategy on health, environment, and climate change, as well as the WHO Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan (2013–2030), provide guidelines, goals, and strategies for promoting mental well-being in the workplace. These measures encompass tackling social factors that influence mental health, such as living conditions and work environment; diminishing prejudice and bias; and enhancing the availability of scientifically proven treatments through the expansion of healthcare facilities, including access to occupational health services. The 2022 World Health Organisation (WHO) report on mental health emphasised the workplace as a crucial context requiring significant efforts to improve mental health.

The WHO guidelines on mental health at work offer evidence-based suggestions to enhance mental well-being, prevent mental health disorders, and facilitate the inclusion and success of individuals with mental health conditions in the workplace. The recommendations encompass organisational interventions, manager training, worker training, individual interventions, return to work, and securing employment. The policy brief of WHO and the International Labour Organisation, titled “Mental health at work: policy brief,” offers a practical framework for putting the WHO recommendations into action. The document explicitly outlines the actions that governments, employers, employer associations, workers’ organisations, and other stakeholders may take to enhance mental well-being in the workplace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *